Whiplash is defined as any injury to the neck that occurs due to a sudden movement of the head. It can occur in a car accident, sports injury, work injury, etc. Unfortunately, it is a common pain in the neck that accounts for a large percentage of neck pain patients. Symptoms can sometimes take years to develop and research shows that 45% of whiplash sufferers still have symptoms two years later.

Is there a link between Trigger Points and Whiplash?

A fresh study that was published in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy examined the presence of Trigger Points (TrP) in people who had suffered a Whiplash injury compared to people who had not (1).  In this report, TrPs were measured in several muscles of the head, neck, and shoulders. Neck ranges of motion and overall pain sensitivity to pressure in different areas of the body were also measured.

Interestingly, the outcome of this study demonstrated that the patients in the Whiplash group had, on average, 7.3 TrPs in the muscles of their head, neck, and shoulders compared with only 1.7 TrPs found in the normal population.  They also found that there were strong links between an increased number of TrPs and an increased sensitivity to pain, as well as a decrease in neck range of motion.

What’s a beneficial treatment for Whiplash?

One recent paper printed in 2010 in the journal of Pain Research & Management analyzed all the previous experiments from 1980-2009 that looked at treatment methods for chronic whiplash pain.  In this study a wide variety of non-invasive techniques were looked at.  This study concluded that there is evidence that exercise programs, interdisciplinary care, and manual joint manipulation (chiropractic adjustments) are effective in relieving whiplash-related pain.

Another paper that demonstrates the beneficial treatment for whiplash was published in the Journal of Orthopedic Medicine found that patients suffering from chronic whiplash responded best to chiropractic care. Their study looked at 93 whiplash patients who received 19 chiropractic adjustments over four months duration. The results of the study showed that 74% of the patients improved following chiropractic treatment (3).

These results provide further evidence that to prevent whiplash injuries from developing into chronic life altering conditions, treatments aimed at healing trigger points and maintaining neck range of motion, such as chiropractic adjustments, soft-tissue mobilization, rehabilitative exercises, and massage therapy will provide the best long-term solutions.

Please call your Chiropractor at AHS on 9948 2826 or visit our clinic at 9/470 Sydney Rd in Balgowlah servicing the surrounding suburbs of Allambie, Balgowlah Heights, Seaforth, Fairlight and Manly on the Northern Beaches.


1. Fernández-Pérez AM, Villaverde-Gutiérrez C, Mora-Sánchez A, Alonso-Blanco C, Sterling M, Fernández-de-Las-Peñas C. Muscle trigger points, pressure pain threshold, and cervical range of motion in patients with high level of disability related to acute whiplash injury. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2012;42(7):634-41.

2. Teasell RW. Et al.  A research synthesis of therapeutic interventions for whiplash-associated disorder (WAD): part 4 – noninvasive interventions for chronic WAD. Pain Res Manag. 2010 Sep-Oct;15(5):313-22

3. Khan S, Cook J, Gargan M, Bannister G. A symptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment.
Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine 1999;21(1):22-25.
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